After this weekend's 31-10 victory over the New Mexico Lobos the Wyoming Cowboys are 7-3 and bowl eligible.
A quick summary of the game for those who missed it:
-The Pokes scored first to take a lead 7-0
- The Lobos took a 10-7 lead
-The Pokes regained lead 14-10 at half
-The Pokes scored 17 unanswered points and won 31-10
-Smith ran for two TDs one of which was a 69 yarder (insert middle school joke here)
-Smith also threw for one TD and was 23 of 38 for 212 yards
-And that new uniform combination was snazzy if I do say so myself.
Obviously the bowl the Pokes get is dependent upon the outcome of their last two games. So let's start by looking at the remaining two games on the Cowboy's schedule.
Next up is a road game against the Boise State Broncos. We all know how big of a challenge this game will be. In fact the line is set at +31.5 right now. I definitely think the Pokes have a chance in this game even though I wouldn't necessarily expect an upset. A win against Boise would be huge as it would put Wyoming alone at #2 in the conference.
After that the Pokes are on the road again for their final game of the season against Colorado State. All signs would point to the Pokes taking this game but in a rivalry game like The Border War anything can happen. The Pokes should still be fully expected to win this game though. I project the Pokes record being 8-4 after this.
Here's a list of the bowl the Mountain West Conference has ties to:
-Maaco Las Vegas Bowl
-SDCCU Poinsettia Bowl
-Advocare V100 Independence Bowl
-Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl (choice between MWC and CUSA since BYU has bid)
-New Mexico Bowl
At the moment the Pokes are projected to be in the Independence Bowl since they are third in the conference. This likely will not be the bowl they end up at. Since the bowl system isn't really about where you place, it's about which bowl wants who and which pick they have, I actually see our Pokes going to the New Mexico Bowl.
There are several benefits to the New Mexico bowl though. For one it is in a location that is reasonable for fans to travel to. Unlike the Independence bowl the New Mexico bowl is in the western part of the country. This is the reason I don't think the Pokes will go to the Independence Bowl, the bowl committee their knows that Wyoming fans will have a tough time traveling there.
Another benefit would be that the game is played before the rest of the bowls. Giving Wyoming a chance to be watched by millions of people. More people will watch the game since it will be the only one on. Which will give them a chance for national recognition.
Given a victory in Boise and a 9-3 finish, or a BCS bowl for TCU or Boise I could see the Poinsettia Bowl taking Wyoming, depending on who the Las Vegas bowl gets. The only thing standing in the way given either of those scenarios is the fact that San Diego State would have a very easy time getting fans to the game.
The Poinsettia Bowl would be a great bowl for the Pokes. It's in the west, it'd be a great warm weather retreat from the cold Wyoming winter for fans and the opponent would be much better than the one they'd get in the New Mexico Bowl.
Issue is though considering the Armed Forces bowl tie in with BYU if Air Force does not get that bowl then there are only four bowls for five teams. There is a possibility Wyoming could get the shaft on these bowls and would have to hope for an invite from another bowl.
Several Poke fans and internet sources such as CBS Sports have speculated and in some cases even projected this as the case. In this scenario a lot of people think the Pokes could end up at the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl. It wouldn't be terrible, at least it would be a bowl and a warm getaway for any fans going, but the level of competition and ability to travel fans would not be good.
Expect the Pokes to land in the New Mexico bowl, but I'd personally be hoping for the Poinsettia bowl.
It feels good for the Pokes to be bowl eligible again after the letdown last year. Keep on cheering fellow Poke fans!